Belgian Beer

Belgian Beers at
The John Bull

In The bar
Belgian Beer

The Bull is going continental by offering their customers the opportunity to sample the taste of Belgium. With probably the best selection of Belgian beers in the North East there is certainly something for everyone's palate.

Beer in Belgium varies from the popular pale lager to lambic beer and Flemish red. Belgian beer-brewing's origins go back to the Middle Ages. There are approximately 125 breweries in the country, ranging from international giants to microbreweries. In Europe, only Germany, France and the United Kingdom are home to more breweries. Belgian breweries produce about 800 standard beers. When special one-off beers are included, the total number of Belgian beers is approximately 8700. Belgians drink 93 litres of beer a year on average.

Draught and bottled beer

The vast majority of Belgian beers are sold only in bottles. Draught beers tend mostly to be pale lagers, wheat beers, regional favorites such as kriek in Brussels or De Koninck in Antwerp; and the occasional one-off. Customers who purchase a bottled beer (often called a "special" beer) can expect the beers to be served ceremoniously, often with a free snack.

These days, Belgian beers are sold in brown (or sometimes dark green) tinted glass bottles (to avoid negative effects of light on the beverage) and sealed with a cork, a metal crown cap, or sometimes both. Some beers are bottle conditioned, in which they are reseeded with yeast so that an additional fermentation may take place. Different bottle sizes exist: 25 cl, 33 cl, 37,5 cl, 75 cl and multiples of 75. (8, 12, 24 or multiples of 24 fl. oz.) The 37,5 cl size is usually for lambics. Other beers are generally bottled in 25 or 33 cl format (depending on brands). The bigger bottles (75 cl) are sold almost in every food shop but the choice is often not wide. Bottles larger than 75 cl are named following the terminology used for champagne and are limited in quantity. In Belgian cafés, when someone orders a demi (English: "half"), he receives a 50 cl (half litre) glass (with beer from the tap, or from 2 bottles of 25 cl) whereas in France, demi means a 25 cl glass.

Serving and glassware

Virtually every Belgian beer has a branded glass. Beyond the basic shape of the glass (wide-mouth goblet, curvaceous tulip glass, tall pilsener, etc), each glass is imprinted with a logo or name. The brewery usually selects a glass form to accentuate certain qualities of their beer. A goblet, for example, lets the drinker's nose inhale the beer's aroma at the same time the mouth is drinking in the liquid. A tulip glass, for example, is very good for foam retention.


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